Service organizations lose business for many reasons; while some are related to technology, some are not. Customer retention is a tricky problem, but at its heart is the customer’s perception that they are not getting satisfactory service—they lose trust and question the value of the service they receive. Knowing this, once a customer has entrusted a service organization to fix their equipment, the first order of business should be to maintain that trust. No matter if the customer’s equipment is a car, locomotive, MRI scanner, or semiconductor tool, customer satisfaction is the key to repeat service business.
To highlight this point I turn to Carlisle & Company, a research firm that specializes in the automotive (and related) sector. According to one of their recent blog posts, “Five years ago, in 2006, [Carlisle & Company’s] Service Customer Sentiment Survey proved what customers really want – it came back to trust, value, cost, and convenience.” Carlisle followed that up with a three-part series called, “Just for Dealers: So, What Can You Do to Survive in a Collapsing Customer Pay Parts Market? - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.” While these blogs are targeted at automotive dealers, the ideas can be adapted to any service organization in a competitive market place. Part 3 of the series describes the importance of customer retention, “In plain English, a very satisfied customer is 15% more loyal than a merely satisfied customer. In even plainer English, a very satisfied customer will, for all practical purposes, remain loyal and “your” customer for as long as you continue to make him/her “very satisfied.” Once you slip and deliver merely “good” service, not “great” service, there is a chance that the customer will defect. Call it a 15% chance. That’s a roughly right number.”
However, there’s more to excellent service than a technician’s “bedside manner.” Customers expect service technicians to accurately explain any equipment problems and quickly describe the time, parts, procedures and cost to complete the repair. Given the variety and/or complexity of equipment that technicians must service, this requires an incredible amount of knowledge—or access to system that locates the right service procedures and orders the right parts quickly and easily. Often, unsatisfactory service calls have less to do with the quality of the service technicians and more with their lack of access to updated parts and service information; they can waste a lot of time searching through mountains of technical documentation for accurate, updated information and then procuring the right parts.
OEMs play a big role in helping service organizations perform to the highest standards. They are uniquely qualified to provide technicians with the information necessary to respond accurately and decisively. Furthermore, there are compelling reasons for OEMs to care about their customers’ quality of service. For OEMs that provide service level agreements (SLA), very satisfied customers typically make fewer support calls and so are more profitable. Very satisfied customers also demonstrate greater loyalty for service and parts (as noted above). Finally, very satisfied customers create a perception of quality and value for the OEM’s brand.
Enigma’s InService EPC application helps service organizations improve their first-time-fix-rates (FTFR) and build customer loyalty. It’s the only tool on the market that helps OEMs support technicians by delivering complete, accurate parts and service information—filtered by equipment configuration (or serial number), updated dynamically (on-the-fly), deployed online and/or offline, and able to be integrated to ERP, EAM, ECM, SCM and order management systems. Enigma helps every service technician act like an expert, ensuring they don’t get lost (or lose a customer), by safely guiding them through mountains of technical content.